Dons’ vaunted offense bettered by TO, 49-28

THOUSAND OAKS — These were two teams that knew exactly how they wanted to play, and — different as their approaches were — did them very well. But as good as the Santa Barbara High football team is at throwing the ball, Thousand Oaks was just a little better at running it.

A 68-pass, 468-yard night by Dons quarterback John Uribe was trumped by a record-setting night by Thousand Oaks running back John Lister, lifting the Lancers to a 49-28 victory in a first-round CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoff game Friday.

Thousand Oaks is 10-1. Santa Barbara finishes at 4-7.

“We’re one of the best 4-7 teams in the country,” said Dons coach Will Gonzales. “All of our losses were to playoff teams … I couldn’t be prouder of our guys battling the way they did. The schedule didn’t do us any favors.”

Neither, in particular, did Lister, who finished with 39 carries for 322 yards and five touchdowns, breaking the school record of 307 yards he set earlier this season and allowing Thousand Oaks to outlast a prolific night by Uribe and receiver Bryson Lloyd.

Uribe finished 47 of 68 for 468 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. One of the touchdowns, and the bulk of the catches, went to Lloyd, who had 24 receptions for 220 yards.

“That’s a lot of catches,” said Uribe. “It wasn’t just him that came out to play. It was also Andrew Mendoza, Freddy Maldonado; Kyle Leonard had a great game, and Roberto Nelson had some great catches.’

“We take a lot of pride in that offense,” said Gonzales. “We’re not the biggest team in the world, so we’re going to have to spread you out and throw the ball a little bit. When you have a quarterback like John Uribe, it makes it easy, and we’ve got a lot of receivers. We just came up a little short on the defensive end. … We needed to score every time we had it, and it didn’t work out that way. They’re not 10-1 for nothing.”

Lister carried 39 times, with scoring runs of 20, 1, 27, 1 and 21 yards. He gained yardage on 37 of those carries, with one for a one-yard loss and one for no gain. He came in needing 210 yards to pass the 2,000-yard mark for the season – and passed that figure on his first carry of the second half.

“All in day’s work,” he said. “When I’ve got these guys blocking for me, it’s not too bad. I’m not too beat up. They opened some holes, and you just keep running.”

That’s true even when Santa Barbara, like everyone else facing the Lancers, is loading up against the run.

“The coaching adage is when there’s eight guys (on defense up to stop the run), you can figure out a way to scheme it,” said Thousand Oaks coach Mike Leiben. “When there’s nine guys trying to stop it, get out of the run. But for three straight weeks, we’ve just stayed with the run. So he’s done a heck of a job, and the offensive line, tight end and backs obviously have. And the coaching staff. We’ve been grinding at it, figuring out how to handle more guys than we can block.”

Thousand Oaks needed all of that – as well as a 96-yard kickoff-return TD by Curtis Dempster and a 12-yard Ian Shultis touchdown pass to Robert Mullaney – to turn back Uribe, who threw 50 or more passes for the fourth straight week. He had touchdown passes of 14 and 71 yards to Nelson, 8 yards to Chase Chandler, and 4 yards to Lloyd.

“They made a lot of plays,” said Leiben. “They have a lot of great athletes, they do a great job with their system, and they had us on our heels all night.”

Ultimately, while Thousand Oaks had a hard time stopping Santa Barbara, it did get two turnovers and force two punts. Thousand Oaks, on the other hand, scored on seven of ten possessions; two of the others ended with missed field goals while the 10th ended when time expired.

“We knew we had to get some plays here and there,” said Leiben, “because they’ve been doing this to people all season. It’s not like we’re the first. … You get them derailed when you get turnovers.”

Thousand Oaks came out of an outlandish first half leading 28-21, with Lister (204 yards, three touchdowns) offsetting the work of Uribe (22 of 27, 288 yards, three TDs).

The difference — the score putting the Lancers in front — was the Shultis-to-Mullaney pass with 1:52 left in the half. Dempster then returned the second-half kickoff for a score, and the Lancers maintained at least a little breathing room the rest of the way.

The final stats were essentially a defensive coordinator’s nightmare: 1,077 total yards (541 for Thousand Oaks), 59 first downs (30 for Thousand Oaks) and, of course, 11 touchdowns and 77 points.

“Unfortunately, we came up on the short end,” said Uribe, who felt the team still helped “put Santa Barbara back on the map.

“Back in the 60s and 80s, they were a big powerhouse. That went away for a while, but we brought that back, and hopefully everybody recognizes it.”

Santa Barbara            14     7     7     0 — 28
Thousand Oaks         14   14   14     7 — 49

First quarter
TO – Lister 20 run (Bateman kick), 10:34.
SB – Nelson 14 pass from Uribe (Chandler kick), 8:46.
TO – Lister 1 run (Bateman kick), 5:05.
SB – Nelson 71 pass from Uribe (Chandler kick), 4:41.
Second quarter
SB – Chandler 8 pass from Uribe (Chandler kick), 7:29.
TO – Lister 27 run (Bateman kick), 4:34.
TO – Ro. Mullaney 12 pass from Shultis (Bateman kick), 1:52.
Third quarter
TO – Dempster 96 kickoff return (Bateman kick), 11:43.
SB – Lloyd 4 pass from Uribe (Chandler kick), 7:45.
TO – Lister 1 run (Bateman kick), 0:44
Fourth quarter
TO – Lister 21 run (Bateman kick), 6:54.

TEAM TOTALS                    SB          TO
First downs                        29          30
Rushes-yards               15-68     43-332
Passing yards                   468        209
Total yards                       536        541
Comp-Att-Int              47-68-1   14-20-0
Punts-avg.                    2-39.0      0-0.0
Fumbles-lost                   1-1         1-0
Penalties-yards               4-38       6-65
Sacked-yards lost           2-11        0-0
Time of possession         21:05      27:55


RUSHING – Santa Barbara: Leonard 10-64, Uribe 5-4. Thousand Oaks: Lister 39-322, Minyard 4-10.
PASSING – Santa Barbara: Uribe 47-68-1-468. Thousand Oaks: Shultis 14-20-0-209.
RECEIVING – Santa Barbara: Lloyd 24-220, Leonard 8-36, Nelson 4-141, Mendoza 5-42, Chandler 3-22, Maldonado 3-21. Thousand Oaks: Thompson 3-67, Dempster 3-39, Minyard 3-39, Mullaney 2-47, Lister 2-14, Schenider 1-2.
MISSED FIELD GOALS – Thousand Oaks: Bateman 37, 37.
TEAM RECORDS – Santa Barbara 4-7, Thousand Oaks 10-1.